What is your role at Yale School of Medicine?
I work as a research assistant for the Community Health Care Van (CHCV) in the Department of Internal Medicine Section of Infectious Diseases.
Have you been involved in any projects that you are particularly proud of?
I am very proud of Project CHANGE, Project Connect, Project Trust, and many other research studies I have worked on. Project CHANGE helps improve the quality of life for people who are involved in the criminal justice system, who are at risk for (or living with) HIV, by connecting them with health services, housing, employment, and addiction treatment. Project Connect brings together people in recovery with their communities. Project Trust involved helping clients take their daily antivirals on the CHCV and with our program. Our data showed clients were getting on substance abuse treatment and seeing undetectable results in their blood work.
Why did you decide to work at Yale School of Medicine (YSM)?
Being from the New Haven community and living here all my life, I wanted to help people in any way I can. It made me push to be part of YSM.
How did you become interested in your line of work?
Growing up, I saw a lot of friends and family fight addiction and mental health. I always want to help anyone I encounter.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
I like to make change every day and save lives. I find it rewarding to see clients go from needing treatment to prospering tremendously. I educate clients daily in English and Spanish and help them make healthier and smarter choices in their lives.
Why do you love working at Yale?
Medical education tends to be focused on inpatient care within tertiary medical centers. As such, we are taught to make tertiary interventions with patients, which are often costly and have less impact on a patient’s quality of life. Less frequently, we have educational experiences that are geared towards primary and secondary interventions for outpatients, which we know have a much larger impact on health care spending, and more importantly, patient dignity and quality of life. Even rarer are opportunities where we can enter the spaces our patients inhabit daily. That is why I love my job at Yale. I feel like I truly make a difference every day.
What is a fun fact about you?
Being from New Haven, I love New Haven pizza. I love all pets. I would like to see all seven continents.
Ojeda is a 2022 recipient of the Linda K. Lorimer Award for Distinguished Service, which recognizes staff members who exemplify Yale’s spirit of leadership, innovation, collaboration, and excellence. His team was recognized for fostering positive relationships and promoting a safe space for New Haven community members seeking Community Health Care Van services during the pandemic and beyond.